Niara Walker-Dunn is the recipient of the Student of the Semester Award for spring 2017.

"Niara" means "was created for a greater purpose" in Swahili. She believes that to be true. In her studies at IUP she has found an interest in sexuality, gender, spirituality, and culture.

Niara is a senior, graduating this fall with a dual degree in Religious Studies and Psychology. She is a proud member of the McNair Scholars Program and is a gifted poet and writer. She is passionate about social justice, using her skills and education to empower marginalized communities.

After she graduates from IUP, Niara plans to go to graduate school to pursue a master's degree in Counseling.